Tried & Tested: Marcato Atlas 150 Pasta Maker

The Marcato Atlas 150 has been our go-to since we introduced pasta makers to our range of cookware. After trying many different pasta makers over the years, we’ve yet to find a pasta maker that is as simple to use, durable, effective, easy to clean, and—most importantly—makes gorgeous pasta. Once we learned about all the components that go into making this pasta maker, its global popularity made perfect sense. So we decided it’s time to share all the details, big and small, of why we love it.

The History of Marcato

Otello Marcato invented the precursor to the Marcato Atlas 150 pasta maker in 1930. He delivered these machines to customers by bicycle until the opening of the first Marcato factory in 1938. (The limited-edition Marcato Otello Pasta Maker is based on this original model.) To this day, Marcato manufactures all their pasta makers and accessories in this factory, located in Italy’s Padua region.

The Marcato Otello Pasta Maker is modelled after Otello Marcato's original prototype. Also pictured: Marcato Pasta Drying Rack in Clear, Peugeot Salt and Pepper mills in Graphite, Microplane Master Series Fine Grater.

Do You Need a Pasta Maker?

While you can roll fresh pasta into sheets with a rolling pin, we don’t recommend it. Firstly, it is unlikely you’ll get a consistently thin sheet, which is important for pasta to cook evenly. Plus, different pasta shapes require different thicknesses, and a rolling pin won’t allow you to be as precise as a pasta maker when measuring thickness. Then, you have to consider time. Pasta dough, exposed to air, dries quickly and tends to crack. It’s essential to work fast, and a pasta maker lets you do that, while a rolling pin is much slower by default.

How Do You Use a Marcato Atlas 150?

Using a pasta maker is simple; using a Marcato Atlas 150 is intuitive to boot. Attach a Marcato Atlas 150 to your countertop or table using the clamp, and tighten it until the pasta maker is stable. If you don’t have an extended surface for the clamp to attach to, you can keep a drawer ajar (so there is space for the clamp) or use a large, stable chopping board that can extend just past the countertop without toppling.

Then place the crank into the side of the pasta maker, facing you; it will clip into the machine easily. As you feed the pasta through the rollers, turn the crank clockwise, starting with the thickest setting on the dial (0) and going progressively thinner (up to 9), depending on the type of pasta you are making (see our pasta thickness chart, below). It is very important to turn the crank clockwise—otherwise, it can affect the gears and damage the pasta maker. 

Reasons We Love It

  1. Patented Rollers (for Better-Tasting Pasta): The Marcato Atlas 150’s patented, anodised aluminium pasta rollers have a slightly rough texture, resulting in a more porous pasta dough that helps sauce bind to cooked pasta more thoroughly.
  2. Jamming Is Rare: Due to the durability and hardness of Marcato Atlas 150’s rollers, it can handle thicker slabs of dough without jamming. The rollers also have small shoulder rings on their sides, which prevents flour from getting inside—they help prevent jamming and keep pasta sheets as straight and even as possible.
  3. Well-Constructed Dial: The dial, which adjusts the thickness of the pasta, is easy to use, with thickness settings from 0 (4.8mm) to 9 (0.6mm). The numbers are listed clearly and etched onto the metal, so they can never scrape off.
  4. Built to Last: The rollers are incredibly durable. They are thicker than the rollers of competing pasta makers, and the tubes between the cutters in the attachments are made from metal rather than the more common plastic. Every Atlas 150 comes with a 10-year warranty against manufacturing defects, and with proper care, it will last a lifetime.
  5. True Colours: We love the Marcato Atlas 150 in Classic, but if you opt for a colour, you're in good hands. While competing coloured pasta makers tend to be polished, Marcato’s colours are infused into the anodised aluminium. Anodisation makes pores open, the colours get infused, and pores close again—since the colours are sealed inside the machine, they won't scrape off or fade over time.

Attachments & Features

Every Marcato Atlas 150 Pasta Maker comes with rollers for making plain sheets of pasta, which you can use for making lasagna and filled pasta (ravioli and tortellini, for example). It also includes cutter attachments for fettucini and tagliolini. To use, clip the pasta crank into the sides of the cutter attachment you want to use and turn the crank to pass the rolled pasta sheets through the cutters. This quickly and easily makes evenly sized strands of pasta.

The enduring popularity of the Marcato Atlas 150 means that Marcato makes dozens of extra attachments compatible with it, sold separately. These vary in shape from spaghetti to pappardelle, as well as function. For example, the PastaDrive motor, which attaches easily and lets you use both hands to collect the rolled out pasta (as opposed to one when using the manual crank).

See all our Marcato Atlas 150 pasta makers and accessories, as well as other tools from Marcato, here

Our Pasta Dough Recipe

Our beginner-friendly pasta recipe, which requires just a single egg per portion, is delicious to eat and forgiving to make. For two portions, use 200g tipo 00 pasta flour and two whole eggs, and follow the directions below. Size up or down per your needs.

  1. Place flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre; crack eggs into it. With a fork, whisk the eggs into the flour from the inside out, gradually incorporating until there’s no loose flour left. Now use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl until it forms a ball. If it feels too wet, add a bit of flour; too dry, add a bit of water.
  2. Transfer to a work surface and keep kneading until it is smooth and elastic. This may take up to 15 minutes; patience is key. When you press the dough with a finger and it bounces back, it’s ready. Wrap in cling film and rest for 30 minutes at room temp (up to three hours in the fridge).
  3. Take half the dough, flatten into a rectangle, and dust with flour. Set the rollers to the widest setting (0), dust with flour, and roll the pasta through. Fold 1/3 of one side of the sheet towards the middle, and do the same with the other 1/3, like an envelope. Roll this through the same setting (0) one more time, then repeat the envelope shape and roll through the 0 setting a final time. This strengthens and stretches the dough.
  4. Narrow the rollers by one notch and repeat, just one time for each number, until your desired thickness. (If making long pasta, use the cutter attachments to shape, then set aside and continue.) Repeat with the remaining dough.

You Have Pasta Dough. Now What?

The possibilities are endless. You can experiment with the dough itself, using egg yolk or whole egg dough; herbs, spinach, wild garlic, beets, or even espresso can be used as flavouring. Then there are the shapes, fillings, and sauces.

The simplest pasta shape to make is lasagna—and for that, we have a recipe from co-founder David’s mum: Bruna’s Truly Italian Lasagna. In warmer weather, try ‘broken lasagna’—lasagna sheets loosely cut into thick strips, cooked, and tossed with olive oil, lightly cooked seasonal vegetables, and soft cheeses like burrata or ricotta.

Find the recipe for Bruna's lasagna here.

If you want to try the pasta cutters, fettuccine is great for rich sauces like Bolognese or Carbonara—the wider the surface area, the better for holding rich sauces. Thin pastas like tagliolini are perfect for lighter sauces. We love how our friends at Padella serve it—with crab, chilli and lemon.

Venturing into filled pasta territory gives you even more options, from tortellini in broth to authentic spinach-ricotta ravioli. In autumnal weather, pumpkin or mushroom ravioli are go-to’s, and meat-filled pasta are perfect for staying inside in the winter. For spring and summer, take advantage of your local market’s fresh produce: asparagus, peas, aubergines, or courgettes, for example.

To speed up the road to filled pasta success, use a ravioli tablet, which ensures perfect proportions of filling and uniform pieces that cook at the same rate. Marcato’s Ravioli Tablet is exceptional, with the same patented aluminium as the Atlas 150 Pasta Maker and a clever ‘roll and flip’ mechanism. Making ravioli will give you a clear understanding of the techniques filled pasta requires, so a tablet is highly recommended for beginners.

Pasta Thickness Chart

Pasta varies in thickness. Filled pasta, for example, needs to be thinner than long pasta, since you are overlapping sheets. Here is a thickness chart for different shapes—but note that this is simply a guide, and we encourage you to experiment to see which position on the dial yields the best results for your taste. 

Cleaning & Maintenance

You should never use water to clean a pasta maker, as it causes the aluminium to rust. Simply use a pastry brush to wipe off dried pasta from the exterior of the machine. It’s best to wait an hour or so after you’re done using it, as that gives the residual pasta time to dry and wipe off more easily. 

The Marcato Atlas 150 is designed to make the cutter attachments easy to clean as well. Just flip the cutter attachment upside down, press on the metal rods to release the combs underneath it, and brush the combs clean. The combs and metal tubes reattach easily and intuitively. Any Marcato Atlas 150 made after June 2022 has black combs instead of white, making residue easier to spot.

Should You Get a Pasta Maker?

If making fresh pasta from scratch is something you’d like to do with some regularity, even if it’s once a season, investing in a pasta maker is worth it—as long as it is a Marcato Atlas 150 Pasta Maker. This machine passes our criteria of function, quality, and durability with top marks. Once you practise making pasta, using our recipe above or countless others, it’ll become a habit you can turn to anytime you want to have friends over for dinner, or cook something special for yourself or your family at home.